The Chimp and the River: How AIDS Emerged from an African Forest

David Quammen (Author)


The real story of AIDS--how it originated with a virus in a chimpanzee, jumped to one human, and then infected more than 60 million people--is very different from what most of us think we know. Recent research has revealed dark surprises and yielded a radically new scenario of how AIDS began and spread. Excerpted and adapted from the book Spillover, with a new introduction by the author, Quammen's hair-raising investigation tracks the virus from chimp populations in the jungles of southeastern Cameroon to laboratories across the globe, as he unravels the mysteries of when, where, and under what circumstances such a consequential "spillover" can happen. An audacious search for answers amid more than a century of data, The Chimp and the River tells the haunting tale of one of the most devastating pandemics of our time.

Product Details

$13.95  $12.83
W. W. Norton & Company
Publish Date
February 16, 2015
5.6 X 0.4 X 8.2 inches | 0.3 pounds
BISAC Categories:

Earn by promoting books

Earn money by sharing your favorite books through our Affiliate program.

Become an affiliate

About the Author

David Quammen's fifteen books include The Tangled Tree, The Song of the Dodo, The Reluctant Mr. Darwin, and Spillover, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle award. He has written for Harper's, The Atlantic, Rolling Stone, The New York Times Book Review, Outside, and Powder, among other magazines, and is a contributing writer for National Geographic. He wrote the entire text of the May 2016 issue of National Geographic on the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem--the first time in the history of the magazine that an issue was single-authored. Quammen shares a home in Bozeman, Montana, with his wife, Betsy Gaines Quammen, an environmental historian, along with two Russian wolfhounds and a cross-eyed cat. Visit him at


To call David Quammen one of our greatest science writers is to belittle him. He is one of our greatest writers, period.--Hampton Sides, best-selling narrative historian and editor at large at Outside magazine
Compelling...[an] utterly gripping story.--Abigail Zuger
[An] intense study of the origins of AIDS. With Sherlockian verve... Quammen's portrait of the real 'Patient Zero'... is a masterful summing-up of the evidence.--Nathan Wolfe